Andrew Sullivan believes in nuance when it comes to the term "conservative." In fact, his definition is so supple as to exclude the vast majority of the war-mongering, Coulter-supporting, Jesus-freaking, Limbaugh-loving knuckleheads who make up the Republican Party.
Fair enough, I suppose. If he wants to live in rarefied air of Oakeshott and Burke, that's his deal. He just shouldn't fool himself into thinking he has much company.
You might think that a pundit who has written a whole book
devoted to teasing out the complexities of conservatism would at least attempt to give similar consideration to liberalism.
You would be wrong.
Here's what Mr. Sullivan has to say
about liberals. They are not fascists, he kindly allows, but:
They engage in a subtler form of well-meant self-delusion, one that tends to inhibit human freedom at best and create statist nightmares at worst.
I find this odd. Out of context, I would have assumed Sullivan was talking about conservatives generally and himself specifically. It is, after all, the "well-meant" support of people like Sullivan that gave us George W. Bush in 2000 and failed to deliver us from him in 2004.
Let's be clear: Sullivan knew who Dick Cheney was in 2000; he knew who George Bush was, too. Anyone with a pair of eyes and a functioning bullshit detector knew all too well what they were about. Maybe he didn't know the extent to which they would betray the country, but us "liberals" sure were screaming about it way back then. Turns out we were right and guys like Sullivan were the victims of a "self-delusion" that cost us our values, our freedoms, our reputation and way too many of our soldiers.
I would like to know, as we stand in the ruins of Bush/Cheney America and look across the world to the smoldering wastes of Iraq, how Sullivan could possibly accuse liberals
of inhibiting human freedom and creating statist nightmares. Does he really take his readers for such a pack of morons? Or is it that self-delusion again...?